Reuters is reporting that Russia has experienced an explosion of new coronavirus cases, with at least 124,054 people infected as of Saturday.
The news service said that there have been a total of 1,222 Russian COVID-19 deaths, with 57 of those fatalities occurring within a 24-hour period.
Moscow especially hard hit
Most of the cases are concentrated in Moscow, Russia’s capital and largest city. Most residents are only allowed to leave their homes for limited purposes, although some have been issued permits allowing more extensive movement.
The city’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, is said to be considering a reduction in the number of permits issued as part of an effort to slow the virus’ spread. Sobyanin was quoted as saying that “it is obvious that the threat is on the rise.”
Reuters states that the Russian prime minister is among those carrying the disease. Mikhail Mishustin tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, according to the BBC.
That development prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to appoint Andrei Belousov as acting prime minister while Mishustin recovers from the illness. Other officials found to have COVID-19 include Construction Minister Vladimir and one of his deputies, Dmitry Volkov.
Mitigation measures taken
Russia acted early on during the pandemic to close its border with neighboring China, halting travel from the Asian country on January 31, according to Fox News.
CNBC quoted Mishustin as saying at the time, “A corresponding instruction was signed today. Work on it is already in progress. We will inform all those concerned properly about the measures to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other steps the government has taken [to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Russia].”
On March 17, ABC News reported that workers were being deployed to disinfect Moscow’s transit system using chemicals and UV light.
Deaths in New York “terrifyingly high”
New York City is the epicenter of America’s COVID-19 crisis, and unlike in Moscow, the number of new coronavirus hospitalizations is declining. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the number of deaths remains far too high.
“The number that I watch every day, which is the worst, is the number of deaths,” the governor told reporters at a press briefing on Friday, according to CBS News.
“That number has remained obnoxiously and terrifyingly high, and it’s still not dropping at the rate we would like to see it drop,” he added.